The Dominican Republic makes an idyllic spot for a family vacation. During Spring Break, we had a grand time in Punta Cana soaking up the sun and finding many fun-filled excursions to fill our days. The bucket list one: swimming with dolphins! We went with Dolphin Explorer for our first experience with dolphins and it did not disappoint. Here’s the skinny on our dolphin experience in the D.R.
Our Dominican Republic trip stands out as one of the most action/adventure packed vacations we’ve ever had! So much so that I’m going to make this a three part blog post to do justice to all our excursions and without putting too much emphasis on one over another.
Excursions in the Dominican Republic
First and foremost, how did we go about selecting which ones from the bountiful excursions available? Well, we started by looking at most of the options and matching it with out family’s interests. What we ended up with were three unique, diverse selections that really gave us a taste of what the Dominican Republic has to offer: 1) swimming with dolphins; 2) an all-day catamaran sail for snorkeling and private island; and 3) horseback riding on Bavaro Beach. (Sorry, Zip Lines Adventure and Outback Safari tour, we’ll have to save you for next time!)
First one was the Dolphin Explorer and our swim with dolphins!
Swimming with Dolphins at Dolphin Explorer
We chose the company Dolphin Explorer because hello, it’s DOLPHINS and this location in particular best suited our schedule (the other vendor couldn’t accomodate us until the day we left). They offer several packages, so we opted for Dolphin Excellence where you can swim with TWO dolphins. This location also offers a Sharks and Rays Encounter and a Fur Seals Encounter. Or there’s the Dolphin Extreme which combines the dolphins, sharks, rays, and fur seals!
Swimming with dolphins has long been on my bucket list, so I couldn’t wait to get in the water. And the kids were over the moon excited, too!
After a 10 minute video on safety, getting our lifejackets (required) and putting all our belongings in a locker, we were ready to start. Our dolphins Maya and Maraca and our expert trainer, Charlotte gave us 45 minutes of pure bliss. These majestic and gentle creatures gave us an afternoon of smiles, kisses and dances. Yes, we actually danced with the dolphins! They also jumped over us, took us for a ride by grabbing their dorsal fins, and even serenaded us with their “voices.” Interesting tidbit: dolphins do not have vocal chords, so the sounds they make are air passing through their nasal passages.
And the absolute highlight is when the two dolphins lift you by your feet into the air and propel you through the water. Strike your best cheerleader pose because that’s what you look like! In that moment, you feel kinda like Leonardo DiCaprio’s Jack in the movie Titanic when he yells, “I’m the king of the world!” (or queen, as the case may be).
LOL moment: when the dolphins lifted my husband up, they moved him so fast that he thought he was going to crash into the dock. I won’t post the blackmail photos that show his look of pure fear, but we were all about to bust a gut laughing at him.
Price and upcharge for photos. This is quite a costly adventure–approximately $ 800. Granted, the dolphins are but one of the features at this park, but it is the main draw for sure. Another big logistical challenge is that if all of you are swimming, there is no way to take your own photos. Even if you did have someone there to just watch and take photos, they better have a pretty good camera lens because they are pretty far away from the action on a separate part of the dock/walkway. The photo package for 4 swimmers including 1 CD and 1 DVD cost a whopping $ 260!
And they do not allow underwater cameras so no Go Pro for you. This was a real bummer as I think we would have been able to really capture some video and great shots and still gotten the photo package.
Is it worth it?
When we look back on these photos and the memories made that day, I can’t help but think that the money isn’t all that important. It certainly doesn’t diminish how I will always treasure that day as one of those priceless days you pull out like a beloved heirloom, smile wistfully about and maybe even mist up. When you factor in that you were able to simultaneously enthrall a 10 year old, a 13 year old, and two fortysomethings on a family activity that was pure, educational, and captivating, it makes it all worthwhile.
Part Two will share our Catamaran Cruise to Catalina Island…the adventures of sailing on the Caribbean Sea and where NOT to sit on the catamaran! And Part Three is all about horseback riding on Bavaro Beach.
You Might Also Like:
Catalina Island Catamaran Adventure from the Dominican Republic